After embarking on a "big fat Greek diet" and a journey to all 50 states, Yphantides lost a total of 270 lbs.
"As a guy who spent a majority of my life as a board-certified hypocrite, it pains me to see those preaching one message and living another," he says. "People doubt what I say but have to believe what I do."
Yphantides lives by the mantra of St. Francis: "Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words." He considers it his duty to his patients to promote a healthy image. Other health systems are following in his footsteps in the journey to promote their staff's personal wellness journeys.
BayCare Health System, which operates 10 hospitals in the area including Clearwater's Morton Plant, Mease Countryside and St. Joseph's in Tampa, has launched an employee weight-loss competition called the Ultimate Loser. The winning man and woman each will receive $3,000 as a reward.
Tampa General Hospital's wellness program focuses not only on weight loss but also on healthy behaviors, like as eating breakfast. Participants who stick with the plan and keep a daily journal will be entered in a drawing for cash prizes. The hospital has hired two full-time wellness educators, who say that for every $1 spent on employee wellness, companies can expect to save $3 in health care costs after three years.
The issue of weight can be an uncomfortable one to discuss with patients and Tampa General is working to tip the scales in a healthy direction. Physicians must educate patients on healthy behavior, but should follow the same healthy principles they preach.
A recent case where image calls credibility into question involves Regina M. Benjamin. Many critics fault the new U.S. surgeon general for being overweight as she addresses the nation's obesity problem.